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Phonics testing pilot to lift educational outcomes

TWENTY Tasmanian Government schools will take part in a phonics testing pilot this year as part of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to lifting educational outcomes.

The National Year 1 Phonics Screen Test pilot is a short, simple assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonics, which is an essential skill for learning to read and write.

The pilot will determine the future implementation of the program in 2021, with pre- and post-assessments carried out in 2020 to determine its success.

Square Pegs Dyslexia Support and Advocacy chairperson Amelia Jones said phonics testing was a tool to provide insight into where a child was at and identify any areas they needed additional help.

“It will really help a teacher identify gaps and focus their teaching to make sure they’re filling those gaps,” she said.

Ms Jones said its implementation would be crucial in identifying children with dyslexia.

“It’s the first years of primary school where you can get the most effective remediation for dyslexia in play – it becomes more and more difficult the older the child becomes if they’re not identified,” she said.

Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff said literacy was an important area for Tasmanians, with there being a number of initiatives building knowledge and practices in the space.

“This includes Launching into Learning, Learning in Families Together (LIFT), which will now be extended to a further 29 schools, and our commitment to provide access to a literacy coach to every school,” he said.

“Early in 2019, we also launched our Literacy Framework 2019 -2022, which outlines how we will support all learners to develop the skills and confidence to succeed in literacy over the next four years.”

Caption: Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff with Rosetta Primary School teacher Magenta Scotney and students.

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